Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?


Ever wonder why enjoying a delicious cup of coffee in the morning gets interrupted by a sudden need to run to the bathroom? 

Coffee doesn’t have the same effect on everyone, but for most, it has a laxative effect. It’s a question many coffee drinkers ask: why does coffee make you poop?

The Science Behind Coffee Causing the Need to Poop

1. Drinking Coffee Causes the Production of Gastrin

Gastrin is a peptide hormone that stimulates secretion of gastric acid. Gastrin is produced after drinking coffee, which leads to a bodily reflex causing contractions in the colon. So this is one reason why drinking coffee triggers a bathroom break. 

2. It Also Causes the Production of Chlorogenic Acid

Despite decaf coffee not containing caffeine, it can still trigger the feeling of needing to use the loo for a number two. Both decaf and caffeinated coffee contain chlorogenic acid, which is a natural antioxidant compound found in coffee beans, which has been typically used for weight loss and lowering blood pressure. Chlorogenic acid triggers higher stomach acid levels and a higher production of gastric acid, catalysing an acidity bump that makes the stomach move its contents out more quickly than usual, in other words, it’ll cause the need to poop. 

Even though decaf coffee still causes the need to poop, drinking caffeinated coffee will cause the need to poop even more. So when in need of some emergency bowel movements, a cup of caffeinated coffee should do the trick. 

3. Coffee is a Diuretic 

Coffee contains caffeine which is a diuretic. Diuretic substances help get rid of the sodium in the body, which can have health benefits, but can also lead to dehydration, headaches, dizziness and more. Coffee acts as a diuretic and a laxative for some, so that’s why feeling the urge to poop after coffee is a common occurrence. 

There’s caffeine in energy drinks, so why don’t I need to poop after drinking that too? Coffee contains a compound found exclusively in coffee beans that stimulates the digestive system in several ways, energy drinks do not contain the same compound. 

Additional Reasons Why Coffee Makes You Poop

4. Lactose Intolerance 

Lactose intolerance will definitely cause the need to poop. If milk or creamer is added to coffee which already has laxative effects, get ready to run to the bathroom.

In the case of a lactose intolerance, the body doesn’t produce the enzymes to break down lactose, which can cause lots of uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, and of course, diarrhoea. So adding milk or creamer could be the reason that makes using the bathroom during or immediately after a coffee part of the daily routine. 

5. The Warmth of the Coffee

The temperature of a coffee has the power to get the digestive system moving. This has nothing to do with caffeine, so even drinking a warm cup of plain water can trigger the digestive system to start moving. It may not work for everyone, but when feeling a little constipated, keep that in mind for an easy release.  

6. Acidity Levels in Coffee

Coffee is typically quite acidic, which can irritate the stomach. Drinking coffee can cause the production of gastric acid, which will lead to problems in the digestive process. Having too much gastric acid in the stomach can result in food not being broken down and absorbed properly. This then triggers the body leading to diarrhoea.

7. Artificial Sweeteners 

When adding an artificial sweetener into a cup of coffee, it is important to know that these sweeteners contain sugar alcohols like xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and erythritol which can cause bloating, flatulence, and other digestive problems. So by adding these artificial sweeteners, it could be the sugar causing the need to poop, not the coffee. 


Feeling the need to poop after drinking coffee is a universal and completely normal phenomenon. According to a study conducted by The Subdepartment of Human Gastrointestinal Physiology and Nutrition, 63% of women feel the need to poop after drinking coffee.

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Mia McNamara


Mia has a passion for all things social media. When she's not studying or working, you can find her at the beach soaking up the sun.

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